Home Ventilation system Preparing HVAC Systems for Summer – A Guide for FMs

Preparing HVAC Systems for Summer – A Guide for FMs

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May 06, 2022

As summer approaches, what are the most important steps facility managers can take to ensure HVAC systems are optimized for efficient performance in hot weather?

In this opinion piece, Martin Sargeant, Director of Development at ABM, describes the process of getting heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems ready for the summer.

Martin’s career in property and facilities management spans two decades. His experience covers all types of built environments, from the enterprise to the warehouse, both nationally and internationally. Martin joined ABM in 2020 to help the company utilize growing innovation in the facilities management industry and identify new solutions that will enable business growth across different industries.

“Cooling – or heating – a large public building isn’t as simple as setting the temperature you want and walking away. The unpredictable weather the UK has to offer can sometimes make it quite a challenge.”

Preparing HVAC Systems for Summer – What Facility Managers Need to Know

The recent bank holiday saw the UK enjoy its hottest day of the year so far which was a timely reminder that summer is on its way and now is the time to prepare for this heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system for the summer.

Regardless of the season, having a good quality indoor airflow (IAF) circulating in a building is crucial to ensure a supply of fresh and healthy air. If the experience of the past two years has taught us anything, it’s the importance of indoor air quality and its impact on our health.

A study by CBI Economics analysis, commissioned by the Clean Air Fund, found that improving air quality can significantly reduce work absences, which could save the UK nearly £600million pounds through a reduction in absenteeism from the workforce.

So where does HVAC come from? These systems play a vital role in providing healthy and safe indoor air quality and our role, as experts in installation solutions, is to minimize the risk of air pollution and ensure that HVAC equipment operates as efficiently as possible.

As summer approaches and many workers return to the office, facility management service providers need to focus on optimizing a building’s HVAC system to maximize its performance and deliver good quality of indoor air.

Cooling – or heating – a large public building isn’t as simple as setting the desired temperature and walking away. The unpredictable weather that the UK has to offer can sometimes make this quite a difficult case.

Four Hot Weather FM Considerations for Summer

Here are four key considerations for facility managers as summer approaches:

1. Prepare shared offices for the summer

Shared office spaces present the greatest number of heating and cooling issues, and commercial properties will have a greater impact due to multiple occupants with varied and high demands. In order to meet these demands in hot weather, it is important to be prepared.

Don’t be surprised by a sudden heat wave. Make sure the HVAC system is fully tested before the warmer months arrive. It is also important to have enough spare parts available in the event of a breakdown.

Check air filters regularly, especially before the summer months, and if they become clogged with dust and dirt, be sure to clean or replace them. Failure to change filters will restrict airflow when temperatures rise, reducing the effectiveness of a building’s HVAC function when occupants need it most.

Another way to prepare for summer is to review a building’s window coverings. Make sure all blinds are in good working order so that occupants do not suffer from sunlight and increased interior temperature.

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Image: A photograph of an engineer wearing a high visibility jacket looking at a control panel. Image credit: ABM

2. Sustainable HVAC

In today’s world, green initiatives are not only a good thing to have to show that a company is acting responsibly, they are now expected. They’re essential to staying competitive, and HVAC has a role to play in making the story sustainable.

Poor planning of a cooling strategy will lead to very high energy consumption and accelerate the need to replace equipment.

At ABM we are experts in heating, ventilation and cooling, and during the summer months we recommend that customers use free cooling at night to reduce energy consumption. Free cooling allows fresh, cool outdoor air to enter the building to reject heat and perform cooling, rather than relying on the HVAC system’s refrigeration cycle.

Using cooler outside air to aid cooling during the night means that free cooling can take over completely from the compressors of the HVAC system, providing an environmentally friendly and economical approach to HVAC process and cooling.

The compressor in an HVAC system is the primary energy source of any cooling system, so even the slightest reduction in run time, operating capacity, or operating conditions can have a significant impact on energy consumption. energy of the system.

3. Don’t forget your heating system

It’s so easy to forget about your heating system during those hot summer months, however, summer is the best time to focus on your heating equipment.

Servicing your heating system during these months, when not needed, allows you to troubleshoot any issues and fix them before the cold weather sets in. Summer maintenance means you know the system will operate as efficiently as possible when needed. more, which is great for energy costs because an efficient system means less energy is needed to heat a building.

When a workforce is cold, they use the office heaters, which can cause very dry and unhealthy air. If the heating system is prepared and working as it should, it will not be necessary to dust the interior heating.

The HVAC system will also be more efficient if equipped with clean filters and clear air vents, an added benefit in ensuring better air quality in a building. If a heating system has not been used for several months, there is a risk that system components and ductwork have accumulated dust and debris.

4. Technology for healthy buildings

In any indoor environment, pathogens are more likely to spread…even in the summer, which is why it’s important to keep your building healthy all year round.

Our EnhancedFacility™ program offers IAQ sensors and Ultra-Violet C lighting, which is among the most recognized and effective technologies for air and surface disinfection. It also includes HVAC systems capable of supporting high efficiency particulate filtration (HEPA) filters; these provide even greater protection to building occupants by capturing more types of airborne substances.

Emerging technologies also in the EnhancedFacility™ portfolio include needle-tip bipolar ionization; an exciting technology that uses electrically charged oxygen ions. When generated inside the HVAC system, these ions aggregate fine particles into filterable clusters, break down harmful volatile organic compounds and inactivate microorganisms. This technique has demonstrated effectiveness on a wide range of airborne contaminants as well as unpleasant odors and is just one example of the emerging technology we use.

Image: A photograph of a person in a well-rented office, standing and gesturing with their hands. Ceiling mounted lampshades can also be seen. Image credit: Pexels

Article written by Martin Sargeant | Published on May 06, 2022

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